Your users expect your site to load fast. If it doesn’t, you could lose a ton of traffic.
How fast, you ask?
Some research suggests that if a page doesn’t load in the literal blink of an eye, people could lose interest. That’s about 400 milliseconds.
Just a one-second delay can reduce customer satisfaction by 16 percent and one in four visitors will abandon a site if it takes more than four seconds to load.
Not to mention the mighty Google says site speed is a ranking factor for mobile sites.
So if your site isn’t fast, both your audience and Google will think poorly of it. You’ll lose visibility and traffic.
So, how fast is your site?
Because if it takes longer than one or two seconds to load, you’re losing traffic right this moment.
It’s okay if your site is slow. There are steps you can take to make it faster to ensure you don’t let a single visitor slip through your fingers. Here’s how.
Step 1: Test Your Mobile Site Speed
Before you do anything else, you should test how fast your mobile site really is.
You might think it loads just fine, but it could be slower than you think.
One of the best mobile tests is from Ubersuggest. Here’s how it works:
Step #1: Enter Your URL and Click “Search”
Step #2: Click “Site Audit” in the Left Sidebar
Step #3: Scroll Down to “Site Speed”
This is where you’ll find the loading time for both desktop and mobile devices. This shows that my site’s mobile loading time is 2 seconds, which is an “excellent” score.
It also tests speed related to six key elements of your website:
- First Contentful Paint
- Speed Index
- Time to Interactive
- First Meaningful Paint
- First CPU Idle
- Estimated Input Latency
If your site speed is excellent, you shouldn’t have any concerns. But if there’s room for improvement, don’t wait to take action. Every additional 0.5s it takes to load your site increases the percentage of visitors that will leave.
I’m going to address the most common causes of slow mobile sites and explain what you can do to improve yours.
Step 2: Perfect Your Mobile Site Design
Think back to when you designed your site.
Did you have mobile devices in mind?
I’m guessing you didn’t. (If you did, give yourself a pat on the back.)
If you didn’t now is the time to rethink your design with a mobile-first mindset.
Mobile sites have changed a lot in the last few years.
It used to be that sites would have two versions, one for mobile and one for desktop.
A mobile site is easily identified by the “m.” subdomain:
In this situation, the mobile and desktop sites are two completely different animals operating separately from one another.
This is no longer the case. Now, most sites use responsive design.
Responsive design allows you to have one site that dynamically changes depending on how it’s being accessed.
So your mobile and desktop users will be looking at the same site, but it will appear differently on each device.
“Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”
You’re probably thinking, “Okay, cool, but what does this have to do with speed?”
If you use a responsive design, your site will get more attention in the form of social shares, which will also boost your SEO.
Making your site responsive is good for both the short term and the long term. If you don’t already have a responsive site, I recommend looking into it as soon as you can.
Step 3: Keep Your Site Lightweight
It’s easy to get caught up in making the best and most eye-catching design out there.
Sometimes you get too caught up, and as a result, your site gets slower and slower because you keep adding more and more.
This is a condition that developers call code bloat.
Code bloat happens when your site gets weighed down with excess code.
Most of the time, code bloat happens when a designer is too focused on the visual presentation of a site.
Don’t get me wrong. How a site looks is extremely important.
But performance can’t take a backseat to looks.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to. You can have your cake and eat it too. Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing your site:
Keep it Simple
Leonardo da Vinci had this to say about simplicity:
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Now, about five hundred years later, his words still ring true.
Look all around you. The complex designs of the past have been replaced with the minimalist designs of the future.
This applies to websites too. Especially mobile sites.
On a mobile screen, sites can easily become too crowded, so it’s important to keep everything open and decluttered.
As a rule of thumb, you should only have one call-to-action per page. This will help you reduce the amount of code you use, and it’ll also improve your site’s user experience.
You might also want to consider a more simplistic design like this one from Rug Doctor:
It’s not flashy, but it catches your attention with its sleek style.
You don’t need lots of bright colors and photos to make your site stand out. When it comes to mobile design, less is often more.
The less your users have to do, the better.
Think about it. Why should there be seven steps between a customer and a sale when there could be only 3?
This effectively shortens your sales funnel, but it also makes the user experience even simpler.
Lots of ecommerce sites use this strategy to increase their sales.
On Boden’s mobile site, it’s super easy to buy a product. You add it to your cart, click checkout, and pay.
It’s straightforward and to the point. There are no unnecessary steps.
This also naturally helps relieve code bloat. It’s hard to go overboard with code if you don’t have tons of pages on your site.
Cutting out unneeded steps is one of the best things you can do for your visitors. Mobile users are much more likely to stay on your site if they don’t have to do much.
Save your users a few clicks, and you’ll reap gigantic rewards.
Use Fewer Images
Before I get into this, I want to say that good images are definitely important for any site, and they also have SEO benefits.
However, you can have too much of a good thing.
In this case, you can go crazy with images and slow down your site in the process.
You may not think this is a big deal, but images make up roughly 63 percent of a page’s “weight.”
From 2011 to 2015, the size of the average mobile page tripled.
That means images are some of the most demanding elements on your site. They take up a lot of space, so having too many is not good.
One solution is to simply cut back on images.
Another (probably more practical) solution is to compress your images and reduce their file sizes.
Compression basically makes your images smaller without degrading the quality. This reduces the amount of time it takes for your site to load.
As a bonus, it also reduces the amount of time it takes for search engine bots to crawl and index your site.
Sites like Compressor.io can do this in a snap.
In fact, this is a best practice you should adopt even if your site is already blazing fast.
Don’t Use Custom Fonts
I like a nice custom font as much as anyone else, but some of them are really high maintenance.
If you want a really deep read on this subject, check out this post on Google’s Web Fundamentals site.
If you want the short version, here it is: Only use custom fonts when they’re absolutely necessary.
Step 4: Minify Your Code
Minification is a super useful technique for streamlining your code.
Here’s a quick definition of what it means to “minify” code:
Essentially, minifying your code takes out everything that’s redundant and unnecessary. It makes sure your site is only using the code it needs.
This goes a long way toward making your site lightweight.
You can minify code manually (instructions here), but if you don’t have any coding experience, it can be a little bit intimidating.
Thankfully, there are several free tools you can use to minify your code in no time at all.
If your site runs on WordPress, you have even more options thanks to plugins like Better WordPress Minify:
By using these tools, you can minify your code with just a few clicks, and you’ll be well on your way to a speedier site.
Of course, you should do all that you can to make sure there’s no unnecessary code, but mistakes happen. These tools let you fix those mistakes and improve your site at the same time.
Step 5: Cut Down on Redirects
But just like code, redirects have limited uses. You can’t use redirects all over the place and expect your site to perform well.
That’s because redirects inherently slow down your site.
When you click on a normal mobile link, the server provides the document found at that link.
But a redirect means there’s no document at that particular link. Because of that, the server has to go to the page where the document lives and retrieve it.
As a result, it could be several seconds before the right page loads. By that time, your users could be long gone.
I recommend using Screaming Frog to check for redirects.
Then you can trace the roots of your redirects and change any that aren’t completely necessary.
The less work your site has to do, the faster it’ll go. While redirects have a time and a place, don’t overuse them or grow dependent on them.
Step 6: Load Above The Fold First
It’s obvious that users see above the fold content before they see anything else.
So why load your entire page all at once?
Why not load only the above the fold content at first and then load the rest as needed?
This is a concept referred to as “lazy loading,” and it can work wonders for site speed.
I bet that if you had the choice, you’d rather lift three pounds than 30. Am I right?
Lazy loading is that exact same concept applied to websites.
By implementing lazy loading, you’re asking your site to do only as much work as it needs to do and no more.
If you’re comfortable with code, you can use this jQuery plugin.
For WordPress sites, there are plugins like BJ Lazy Load to come to the rescue.
If neither of those options fit, you may need to hire a developer to help you out.
This is a more advanced technique, but it can save your site from doing a lot of work in the long term.
Speed isn’t just for race cars. It’s one of the most fundamental ingredients of a great mobile site.
A faster mobile-friendly site can increase traffic and bring in a flood of new customers and conversions.
It’s no surprise.
Mobile is here, and it’s here to stay.
Desktop performance still matters, but mobile is the present and the future.
In short, make your site as fast as possible and reduce the amount of weight your site is pulling.
This Think With Google article put it perfectly: “If speed thrills, friction kills.”
Improving your mobile site speed is a one-two punch that will make your site better for your users and for search engines.
If you haven’t focused on mobile yet, I urge you to start today.
Which of these techniques are you going to use to speed up your mobile site?
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How to Manage Your Online Brand?
You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to manage my online brand?” It’s a valid question, especially if you’re not sure what managing your online brand means precisely.
In short, managing your online brand is the process of taking control of how others see you and your business online. This can involve creating and maintaining a strong presence on social media, developing positive reviews and testimonials, and monitoring your web analytics to track progress.
By taking the time to manage your online brand, you can improve your chances of success in today’s digital age.
In this article, we’ll explore some key reasons why managing your online brand is essential.
What is an online brand, and why do you need one?
Your online brand is the way you are perceived by others online. This includes your website, social media profiles, online reviews, and all other digital real estate that represents you when someone searches for you or your business.
It’s important to have one because it helps your potential customers get to know, trust, and like you before they buy anything from you. A strong online brand can also help you attract new customers and grow your business.
It’s good to remember that your online brand is the first thing people will see when they search for you, so it’s important to make sure it represents you and your business well.
How to manage your online brand for success?
Your online brand is your reputation. It’s how people perceive you when they see your name, read your work, or interact with you online.
A strong online brand can help you attract new clients, collaborators, and opportunities. But how do you create and manage your brand for success?
1) Consider what you want your online brand to convey.
Are you an expert in a certain field? A thought leader? A creative visionary?
Once you know what you want your brand to communicate, be consistent in everything you do online.
Use the same name, photo, and bio across all of your social media platforms. Post regularly about topics related to your brand, and make sure the tone of your posts is consistent with the image you’re trying to convey.
2) Interact with other people online in a way that reinforces your brand.
When someone mentions you in a post, thank them publicly. If someone leaves a negative comment on one of your posts, don’t delete it – instead, respond politely and professionally.
By managing your online brand thoughtfully and proactively, you can set yourself up for success both online and offline.
3) Monitor your web analytics to track your progress.
Use Google Analytics or another web analytics tool to track how people are finding you online and what they’re doing on your website. This data can give you insights into what’s working well and what needs improvement.
For example, if you see that most of your website visitors are coming from Facebook, you might want to focus on creating more engaging content for that platform.
Or, if you notice that people are spending a lot of time on your blog but not your sales page, you might need to work on driving traffic to your products or services.
4) Make sure your website represents your brand well.
Your website is often the first thing people will see when they search for you online, so it’s important to make sure it’s up-to-date and represents your brand well.
Update your website regularly with new blog posts, photos, and products. Use attractive visuals, easy-to-navigate menus, and clear calls to action.
If you’re not sure how to create a website that represents your brand well, consider working with a web designer or developer.
5) Pay attention to your social media presence.
Social media is a powerful tool for managing your online brand. Use it to connect with your audience, share your work, and promote your products or services.
Be sure to post regularly, interact with others, and use hashtags and keywords that will help people find you. You can also use social media ads to reach a wider audience or promote specific products or services.
6) Monitor your online reputation.
Use Google Alerts or another tool to monitor your online reputation. This will help you stay on top of what people are saying about you online and take action if necessary.
For example, if you see a negative review of your business, you can reach out to the customer directly to try to resolve the issue. Or, if you see someone spreading misinformation about your work, you can correct it.
7) Manage your online brand proactively.
The best way to manage your online brand is to be proactive. Be thoughtful about everything you do online, from the content you post to the way you interact with others. By taking control of your online presence, you can set yourself up for success both professionally and personally.
By following these tips, you can create and manage an online brand that will help you achieve your goals.
The benefits of having a strong online brand
Let’s look at a few benefits of having a strong online brand:
1) Stand out from the competition.
With so much noise online, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. But if you create a well-defined brand, you’ll be better able to cut through the clutter and attract attention.
2) Build trust and credibility.
A strong online brand can help you build trust and credibility with your audience. If people know what to expect from you, they’re more likely to trust and respect you.
3) Connect with your audience.
By definition, a brand is a way of differentiating yourself from others. But it’s also a way of connecting with your audience on a deeper level. When done well, branding can create an emotional connection between you and your audience.
4) Drive traffic and sales.
A strong online brand can help you drive traffic and sales. If people are familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you. And if they trust and respect you, they’re more likely to tell others about you.
5) Increase your visibility.
A well-managed online brand will increase your visibility online. When people search for you or your business, you’ll be more likely to show up in the search results. And when people see you frequently in their feeds, you’ll be more likely to stay top of mind.
6) Attract media attention.
A strong online brand can help you attract media attention. If you’re known for something specific, journalists and bloggers will be more likely to write about you. This can help increase your visibility and reach even further.
7) Enhance your career prospects.
Your online brand can have a big impact on your career prospects. If you’re looking for a new job, employers will likely research you online. And if you’re an entrepreneur, investors will want to know more about your brand before they invest in your business.
8) Make a positive impact.
Finally, a strong online brand can help you make a positive impact in the world. If you’re passionate about something, you can use your platform to raise awareness and advocate for change.
The importance of staying consistent with your branding strategy
As you can see, there are many benefits to having a strong online brand. But it’s not enough to just create a brand—you also need to be consistent with your branding strategy.
When it comes to branding, consistency is essential. Your audience needs to know what to expect from you, and they need to see that you’re consistent in your messaging and your visuals.
Here are a few pointers if you’re not sure how to stay consistent with your branding:
1) Define your brand.
The first step to being consistent with your branding is to define your brand. What do you want people to think of when they see your name or your logo? What do you want your brand to represent?
2) Create guidelines.
Once you’ve defined your brand, it’s time to create guidelines. These guidelines should include everything from your mission statement to the colors and fonts you use in your branding. By having a set of guidelines, you’ll be able to ensure that all of your marketing materials are on-brand.
3) Train your team.
If you have a virtual assistant or team, it’s important to train them on your branding guidelines. Make sure everyone knows what your brand represents and how they can help you maintain a consistent brand identity.
4) Monitor your brand.
Once you’ve launched your brand, it’s important to monitor it. This means paying attention to how people are reacting to your brand and making sure that you’re still presenting yourself in the way you want to be seen.
5) Be prepared to adjust.
Finally, be prepared to adjust your branding strategy as needed. As your business grows and changes, your branding will need to change with it. By being flexible and willing to adjust, you’ll be able to ensure that your brand is always relevant.
A strong online brand is essential for any business or individual. By definition, your online brand is the way you’re perceived by others online. And while that may seem like a superficial thing, the reality is that your online brand can have a big impact on your business or career.
If you’re not sure how to create a strong online brand, start by defining your brand and creating guidelines. Then, train your team on your branding strategy and monitor your brand over time. And finally, be prepared to adjust as needed.
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